Organized Chaos: Learning to Embrace the Messy

It is no surprise that chaos is a kid’s best friend. Put them all together in a room, and it is not difficult for chaos to reign. However, I have found that one of the keys to teaching effectively is not becoming a stickler for discipline, but rather finding ways to embrace the messiness of elementary education.

Kids will be kids. We all know this. They are sticky; they are clumsy; and they never seem to sit still. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t engage them and teach them successfully. It just means you need to find the right approach. While some teachers prefer to come down hard with strict rules and no-nonsense policies, I believe that finding the kid inside you is the first step to connecting with your young pupils.

Discovering how each child learns and being brave enough to be flexible and experiment will help you control your classroom in what I like to call organized chaos. You may never have a day that is relaxing or “perfect.” But once you embrace the messy and learn to connect with the children on their level, teaching becomes much easier.

Teacher with Students 

Peer Mentoring

Peer mentoring is a great way to encourage active learning. We have been told that we learn best by doing, so why not encourage your students to engage in the learning process by teaching each other. Whether you pair students based on level (e.g., have higher level students assist or tutor struggling students), or simply have kids get in groups for discussion, peer mentoring, and group teaching is a great way to engage learning.


Chaos vs. Clarity

One key to a successfully run classroom is setting out clear directions and expectations. If your students are unsure what you expect of them, in behavior or performance, they are ill-equipped to meet your standards. Therefore, focus on clarity in both your directives, teaching styles, and rules. This will prevent chaotic learning and focus both you and your students on the issues at hand. When there is clarity, chaos diminishes.

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